B.B. King with Etta James, Gladys Knight and Chaka Khan – “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” Live
One Day, I’ll Have Ham and Bacon Alright!
“Ain’t Nobody’s Business” is a blues standard released in 1922 as a single by Anna Meyers with the Original Memphis Five. Other versions recorded included that of Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter and Sara Martin. Jimmy Witherspoon revived the song in 1947 it became a chart-topper.
It became the biggest selling race record of 1949 and inspired numerous adaptations of the song. In 2011, Witherspoon’s rendition was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame as a “Classic of Blues Recording.” According to the Foundation, “its message continued to resonate, as borne out by the remarkable success of Witherspoon’s two-part rendition, which remained on the Billboard ‘race records’ charts for 34 weeks. It was rated No. 3 in all-time chart longevity in Joel Whitburn’s Top R&B Singles 1942–1988.”
During a live performance in Los Angeles at the Ebony Showcase Theatre, B.B. King sang his rendition along with Etta James, Gladys Knight and Chaka Khan. It’s one of those things you’ll never forget and among all the blues standards, this one stands out best. It’s beautiful and timeless in every way. There’s so much soul into each note, each melody, each line.
The song features a lyrical theme of freedom of choice and a vaudeville jazz-style musical arrangement.
Though with the company of such powerful voices, B.B. King’s guitar solo still sent chills down my spine. It’s too perfect for words. It could just be the trill sound or his mad skills, but either way, it looks like the music was oozing out of him. Oh, what a gift the King has! He turns the chords into magic!
That last riff really got me. Wow!